The Rotary Club of West Seattle has been involved in many exciting projects. Here are a few of the highlights.
Totem Pole and West Seattle Rotary Viewpoint Park
A group of Rotarians had a vision to transform an unsightly, overgrown patch of land into a beautiful park and viewpoint. An old dumping site above the West Seattle Golf Course was developed into one of the most beautiful viewpoints with an unobstructed view of the Seattle harbor and downtown.
Members approved the project and detailed plans were submitted to the City of Seattle for approval. This project would entail many hours of labor to transport thousands of yards of dirt and topsoil needed for shaping the area. More time was spent pouring yards of concrete and laying of bricks for walkways and flower boxes. Benches were installed and a large 18-foot tall totem pole was installed to symbolize the early history of the Puget Sound and West Seattle’s beginnings. Robin Young, a Northwest Indian, carved the pole. The pole has been repainted and refurbished on two occasions by local volunteers and West Seattle Rotarians.
At the entrance of the park there is large granite rock with a bronze plaque mounted on it which is dedicated to a fellow West Seattle Rotarian, Normie Beers for his unselfish service to the community. The park was dedicated in August 1976. The City of Seattle accepted the park and viewpoint as a gift from the West Seattle Rotary Club.
Phase two of the park project envisioned a tree lined boulevard extending from the park to the West Seattle business junctions along Southwest Alaska Street. The effort was coordinated with the City Departments of Engineering and Parks. Trees were planted and the boulevard blossomed with greenery. At the presentation ceremonies, the mayor proclaimed the project to be symbolic of Rotary’s Pledge: “Service above Self.”
The park and the viewpoint is a perfect example of a local service club and local businesses pitching together to establish a city park. Today, the viewpoint draws visitors from throughout the area to enjoy the scenery of the Seattle Skyline.
See “Totem Pole” under the “About Us” tab on the home page for more details.
Rotary at Camp Colman
The Rotary Club of West Seattle has had a long involvement with the YMCA Camp Coleman. Rotarians have labored to provide summer camping experiences for young people at the Camp. There are a number of cabins bearing the Rotary name. Most of the cabins are linked in one way or another to Rotary. There are cabins given to the camp in the name of a deceased loved one, and the donor is a Rotarian. Hands on work projects were associated with the building of the these cabins and for the periodic maintenance and paint when required.
The very first cabin was built in the 1967 – 1968 time period. Rotarians developed the concept, helped to raise funds for the project, and contributed a considerable amount of expertise to help design and erect the cabin. This project, like most good Rotary projects involved a number of volunteers contributing their time, talent and treasure. Club records note that the first cabin project was an outstanding success and a wonderful addition to the camping program. By the way, these volunteers also enjoyed themselves. The cabin was ready for the 1969 camping season. The cabin was winterized in the mid 1970’s for winter camping experiences for youth.
The project received recognition from the district and was written up in the Rotarian magazine. A second Rotary cabin, named for a West Seattle Rotarian Normie Beers, was completed in 1979.
The ABBA Project
It is often said that it only takes one to initiate a great idea. Bob Roach was our Rotarian who conceived the ABBA Project. It started with a Carl Miller grant and it was designed to send manual typewriters to ABBA Nigeria. The project was started in the Rotary year 1990 – 1991. It did continue for a number of years afterward. The typewriters were carried to Nigeria, additional opportunities were realized and soon we were involved in building and equipping a schoolhouse to house the typewriters and train the students. A water system for the village provided the first running water for the villagers ever. Then came a power supply system to provide the schools with lights. When the project was finally completed, Chief Imo of the village attended our club meeting to bring us current up to date information and to thank the Rotary Club.
This project developed from a dream to restore a section of shoreline to its natural state as an inter-tidal habitat for wildlife. The restoration of the shore and the provision of a safe public access to a Puget Sound beach were the corner stones of this dream. This effort took a number of years and involved various groups, businesses and governmental entities to come to fruition. An unsafe seawall and a beach that had deteriorated required five years of planning and support to correct the situation. Our club donated $10,000 and many man-hours to the effort.
Today the Cove has been restored. The seawall is safe. Native plants adorn the grounds. There are benches and walkways to the beach. Interpretative information plaques inform visitors of the natural treasures at the Cove. A telescope offers visitors an opportunity to view the changing environment, wildlife, birds, and a natural habitat on a close up basis. The Rotary Club’s financial contributions, work parties and efforts to build community support were combined with grants and the contributions of school children, neighbors and the City to make this five year dream become a reality. Cormorant Cove is a place that will be enjoyed by many for years to come. Rotary’s vision and leadership helped to make this possible.
Plaque on bulkhead @ 63rd and Alki: This plaque commemorates the arrival of the Denny Party. Rotarian Ken Wise’s family owns the property and installed the plaque. The City will not all such plaques to be placed on City property.
Trees lining Alaska Way between 35th and Fauntleroy. Some of the trees have been removed over the years.
Trees lining Fauntleroy Way from just a block or two South of the Fauntleroy/Alaska Junction all the way to a couple of blocks past the California/Fauntleroy junction. We organized planting of 127 trees in one morning during Amy Lee Derenthal’s year as President. I dubbed it “AmyLee’s Rotary Grove.”
Pocket Park @ 42nd/Alaska Way. WS Rotary donated $10,000 toward construction of this recently completed park across the street from the QFC.
South Seattle Community College Culinary Arts program: WS Rotary donated $10,000 toward the construction of the new culinary arts center.
Pier T-105/107 improvements, including park bench, etc. These improvements were done during Any Horner’s year as club president. West Seattle Rotarians provided much of the heavy labor needed to clean up the locations.
Public access to beach project: There is a narrow public access point to the beach on Beach Drive, between Cormorant Cove Park and La Rustica. West Seattle Rotary installed the plantings in that area.
Constellation Park On Beach Drive
WSHS choir robes. About 15 years ago, the club raised the funds (about $8,000) to purchase new choir robes for West Seattle High School. This was in conjunction with the opening of the renovated high school. They had not had new robes for more than 30 years.
Tree planting project near Longfellow Creek. Accomplished in about 1997 with the cooperation of Seattle City Light (Mike Little).
The Chinese Garden project at SSCC. Rotarians donated money and man-hours in Ken Eastlack’s year as club president.
Duwamish Tribe Longhouse: West Seattle Rotary helped the Duwamish Tribe with getting their property ready to construct their Longhouse. The Tribe of Chief Seattle has gone through a decades-long effort to gain federal recognition. Part of their effort involved securing the land for a Longhouse and then getting it built. During Tom Wise’s year as club president, Rotarians helped clean up the site prior to construction of the Longhouse.